Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Remnants of Christmas Past

I blame it on January and February being such long, cold months. Okay, February isn't long, but it's usually cold and by the end of it, we've still got a lot of winter ahead of us. It cheers me to have the Nativity sitting on top of the piano in the living room, even though Christmas was a few months ago.

Now that we're having summertime in April, it seemed appropriate to put the Nativity in the Christmas closet and get the old pottery washed, dried, and back on top of the piano in its usual spot.

The sad story behind the quilt on the wall is that it belonged to Kevin's dear grandpa. When he gave it to me, back in 1971, he told me that his grandma had made it. Just to give you a time frame, Kevin's grandpa was born in 1892.

I was thrilled to get that beautiful old log cabin quilt. It wasn't that I was into antiques, but I loved Grandpa Roy and thought it would be so cool to have this quilt that was being passed down through the family. 

Some time later, because it had been stored in an attic for years and needed cleaning, I reasoned that no one at the time it was made would have dry cleaned it, so [and here's where the story goes bad...] I filled up our toddler's kiddie pool with cold water and Woolite. Doesn't that seem reasonable?? I thought so, in my younger years. If I'd only seen Elinor Dashwood in the new Sense & Sensibility...

What I didn't know, of course, was that the fabrics used at that time were not color fast, that quilts were not washed but were hung on a line and beaten. As soon as the heavy wool-centered quilt sank below the water, all the turkey red centers disappeared as the clear water became a dark pool of swirling dyes rising from the once-vivid colors of the quilt. I was sick.

I don't feel quite so bad when I realize that the fabrics were also simply deteriorating. Yet I couldn't throw the thing away, so I framed the best part and keep it on the living room wall. It reminds me of Grandpa Roy, his many kindnesses to me, the fact that he didn't seem the least bit annoyed with me for being so stupid, and that every generation just might be able to learn something from the previous one, if they would only ask.


Deborah said...

The partial quilt still looks good on your wall.
Also like the pottery in front. :)

Anonymous said...

Judy, Thank you for your story about Kevin's grandpa's quilt. I "won't" try to wash the quilt I got from Tom's mother. It is falling apart but don't want to get rid of it. Perhaps cut good pieces out and put into another quilt if the fabric is able" to withstand being handled or will frame a good part of it like you did. Thanks for the "helpful hint"..


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